RDP Housing is a Long Term Disaster!
Poverty and Co-Dependence on Governments
There is no government in the world that is not dealing with some form of poverty or unemployment. Could it be that we have been looking at the problem from the wrong direction?
When you really stop to think about it, do people need jobs, or do people need food, homes and clothes? Those of us who are employed are certainly not doing all that well either! The world is in a credit crisis and has a lack of food and clean water - so do we really need more "jobs"? Do we really need to bring more people INTO the credit crunch problem?
Perhaps all the world's poverty is in fact an opportunity to 'reboot" our system! The answers are right in front of us.
In South Africa, our government has committed to building homes for people. This is a commitment made with the best intentions but is indirectly creating more poverty and dependence on the government, not to mention creating more and more "slum areas".
RDP houses, part of the Reconstruction and Development Programme in South Africa, are generally small, square shoe box homes, built by the cheapest contractor possible.
Naturally, these homes once lived in will then need to be furnished and maintained and will require water and electricity to make them truly worthwhile. This in itself is creating a problem as most impoverished people can barely feed themselves, never mind buy furniture.
Recently, these homes have been equipped with solar powered geysers, definitely a step in the right direction, but then this got me thinking - if we've thought so far as to give people free energy geysers, why didn't we go the whole hog, do it properly and create self sustaining homes and communities?
SA's current RDP ShoeBox "Houses"
Building a Home, not a House
As you can see from the accompanying picture on the right, RDP houses are built very small, with little space between themselves and their neighbor. there is no room for growth or gardening.
Yet South Africa is such a rich country and its people born of farmers!
How the Energy Plan Works
Beautiful, Sunny & Stylish Earth Ship Home
A Bright Future in A Bright Home
Let's use two models to create a new concept.
Homes take time, effort, energy and money to run. A shell on its own does not a home make. The recent introduction of Earth ships homes is exactly what the world has been looking for! Built from sustainable materials that will not only build a home but clean up the environment, Earth Ships are a self contained self sustaining nucleus and haven. they are cheap to build, cheap to maintain and will keep their owners fed, housed and provided with free energy all their lives. Now THAT is an idea worth rolling out!
Earth ship homes are built out of recycled materials such as old tyres and recycled glass. They are quick and easy to build and come in a variety of sizes at a variety of costs, but start from as little as R 70 000 ($7000).
When one considers that this price includes making a family completely self sufficient and provides them with shelter, warmth, sustainable energy and food, it is a very small price to pay indeed!
Earth ships are bright, open and light and can be modified by their owners as they grow or to personal taste. A far cry from the small, symmetrical homes which are too small to even have ablution facilities!
Earth ships can be built with unskilled labour - a couple in Europe recently built their own home in just 8 weeks without a crew!
RDP houses are reliant on building contractors and specialized staff. these costs can be negated if the government were to train Earth Ship specialists and then go into communities to teach people how the design works and how to build their own homes!
Paradise and Food Under Your Own Roof
Community Living - The Way of the Future
Encouraging Community Over Separation
The Kibbutz is a very successful model when it comes to self sustaining agriculture and shared work communities.
People pay to go on these working holidays to meet others, experience another way of life and learn a bit about agricultural life. Transfer this model here and ask yourself, why isn't the government building self sustaining homes and communities, rather than rows and rows of poverty stricken homes, trapped in a ghetto with the owners still seeking employment to keep themselves fed?
Why not build communities of earth ship self sustaining homes, with gardens and room to grow in a small "kibbutz style" community where families can work together to trade what they have in excess or take care of livestock, a swimming pool and communal services?
Why not create training teams to teach people how to build their homes and tend their gardens? It would cost our government a little more now perhaps but long term it eases the burned on tax payers, it creates a future for the impoverished and may even solve our food and water crisis!
The Cost of RDP "Houses" vs "Earth Ships"
Basic Model Home Style
Cost of Building
Cost of Training
Cost of Sustaining over 20 years
RDP Shoe Box
R 85 000.00
R 200 000 or more
R 70 000.00
R 5 000.00
R 50 000 or less
Building Out of Old Used Tyres
Do you agree with the author that this could be an answer to world poverty, housing and hunger?
Where to From Here?
There are people with similar idea who are starting to buy up land and start projects like these for themselves and their families now that the fall of banks and the credit crisis is affecting so many.
There are several forums and websites connecting such people, a good place to start is to learn more about earth ship homes and then look for people who are building them !
Useful websites on this matter are: